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Paul Ryan lectures the pope

When 1.3 million Americans lose their unemployment benefits on Saturday, they can thank Rep. Paul Ryan. He took the lead in negotiating a bipartisan budget deal with Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, and on behalf of his party, held the line against continuing extended unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless.

Sure, a lot of Republicans share blame with Ryan. But he deserves extra-special (negative) credit for the deal, because he has lately had the audacity to depict himself as the new face of “compassionate conservatism,” insisting Republicans must pay attention to the problems of the poor. Friends say the man who once worshipped Ayn Rand now takes Pope Francis as his moral role model. Except he can’t help treating his new role model with arrogance and contempt.

It’s true that while knuckle-draggers like Rush Limbaugh attack the pope as a Marxist, Ryan has praised him, which I guess takes a tiny bit of courage since normally Republicans don’t like to buck the leader of their party. “What I love about the pope is he is triggering the exact kind of dialogue we ought to be having,” Ryan told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “People need to get involved in their communities to make a difference, to fix problems soul to soul.”

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